Bangkok, Thailand - Thailand has extradited a Mozambican fugitive wanted for a string of kidnaps for ransom and murders, police said Wednesday, as a crackdown deepens on foreign gangsters using the Southeast Asian country as a bolt-hole.
Momade Assif Abdul Satar entered Thailand three years ago shortly after being freed on parole from a Mozambique jail for the 2 000 gangland-style murder of an investigative journalist in the capital Maputo.
Interpol issued a "red notice", or a non-binding arrest warrant, after allegations Satar continued to run a ransom-kidnap business across Mozambique and South Africa from overseas.
The gang snatched wealthy executives and charged up to $3 million for their release.
In South Africa, at least 15 businessmen have been kidnapped in recent years, with the most recent being Liyaqat Parker from Parow. Parker was abducted from the parking area at his business at the beginning of July and is still missing.
Satar, who was arrested in Bangkok last week, may have entered Thailand on a fake passport and then set up a front company to obtain a visa, the Deputy Commissioner of Thailand's tourist police told AFP.
"He was extradited at midnight (Tuesday) on a flight to Kenya," for onward travel to Mozambique, Police Major-General Surachate Hakparn said.
"We will not allow foreign criminals to use Thailand as base for their operations," Surachate added.
Satar is the latest in a mounting tally of foreign criminals found hiding out in Thailand, a country trying to banish its reputation as a bolt-hole for bad guys.
Surachate, popularly known by his nickname "Big Joke", has launched a high-profile clean-up campaign called Operation X-Ray Outlaw.
In near-nightly round-ups around 2 000 foreigners have been arrested - including drug dealers and prostitutes as well as visa overstayers in Thailand's tourist hotspots.
AFP and IOL